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11 Epic Day Trips from Cabo San Lucas: Exploring the Hidden Gems of Baja California

11 Epic Day Trips from Cabo San Lucas: Exploring the Hidden Gems of Baja California

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Are you visiting Cabo San Lucas but might want to add some day trips to your Mexico itinerary? Check out these amazing day trips from Cabo that are totally worth the effort!
This list of Cabo day trips in Mexico was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Traveling to Mexico and wondering what to do in Cabo, Mexico? There are so many exciting vacation activities, including finding all the best hidden hems of Baja California Sur.

Cabo San Lucas is located on the Baja California Peninsula, northwest of Mexico and just south of California. This long peninsula has so much to offer. So many day trips from Cabo San Lucas can’t be missed.

Whether you want to explore some off-the-beaten-path beaches, visit small pueblo magicos (magic towns) within driving distance, unwind in hot springs, or enjoy the region’s natural beauty, you’re in luck. You can find all that and more of the best places to visit near Cabo San Lucas.

Let’s look at the 11 best day trips from Cabo San Lucas for your next Mexican vacation.

Don’t have time to read a bunch of Cabo San Lucas blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Cabo with kids.

Popular Cabo Tours/Activities

Kid-Friendly Cabo Resorts

11 Easy and Fun Day Trips from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Day Trip to La Paz from Cabo

La Paz is the capital of San Jose del Cabo and one of the best towns to visit near Cabo San Lucas.

La Paz is known for its beautiful beaches, Malecon (boardwalk that lines the beach), and many art galleries, restaurants, and bars that line the main strip here.

If you spend a day at Playa Balandra or swim with whale sharks, you’ll come to La Paz. But it’s also worth visiting and exploring the lovely downtown area.

Image of Playa Balandra in La Paz Mexico
This is Playa Balandra in La Paz Mexico.

Despite being the capital, La Paz sees much fewer visitors each year. That means the city feels more authentic, less crowded, and more relaxed than popular tourist destinations.

Also, this is one of the best spots in Los Cabos to swim with whale sharks. If you’re in the region between October and February, you must look into a good whale shark tour from La Paz. Whale sharks are an endangered species and one of the most gentle sea creatures you’ll ever encounter.

Check out this Los Cabos to La Paz swimming with whale sharks tour. This tour includes roundtrip transportation, lunch in La Paz, all snorkel equipment, beverages, and an expert guide. Check the latest rates and availability.

How To Get From Cabo to La Paz

Distance: 98 miles

La Paz is about two to four hours from Cabo San Lucas, depending on how you travel. Because it’s a bit further away, it would be better to spend a few days here, but it can still be done as one of the Cabo day trips.

There are multiple ways to get to La Paz, including a local bus, shared shuttle, private shuttle, private driver, rental car, or with a tour group.

One of the easiest ways to get to Laz Paz is with the La Paz shuttle from Los Cabos airport. The shuttle leaves regularly from Los Cabos Airport and drops you off directly in downtown La Paz, and the shuttle returns to Los Cabos later.

Several tour options will take care of transportation and all the planning. Look into this tour from Cabo to La Paz that’s wonderful for the entire family.

It includes a trip to Balandra Beach, a city tour of La Paz, and a brief visit to the iconic Hotel California outside of Todos Santos. Check the latest rates and availability.

Todos Santos Day Trip from Cabo

You must plan to visit Todos Santos, as it’s one of Mexico’s most memorable and charming pueblos magicos (magic towns).

Todos Santos is one of the classic colonial towns that feels more authentic than other resort towns on the Baja California Peninsula. The streets have local restaurants, delicious fish tacos, and the best beaches in Los Cabos.

It was once considered a hidden gem that few travelers knew of. But recently, Todos Santos has become a hotspot for tourists, digital nomads, and expats in Mexico. However, Todos Santos has retained most of its Magical Town charm.

There are also so many different activities in Todos Santos. You can spend the day enjoying the unique colonial architecture, relaxing on the white sand beaches, going sport fishing off the coast, practicing surfing the waves, or going hiking in the nearby La Laguna Biosphere.

And if that’s not enough, stop at the infamous Hotel California, which inspired the Eagles’ song by the same name.

How To Get From Cabo to Todos Santos

Distance: 46 miles

The drive to downtown Todos Santos from Cabo should be less than an hour, depending on traffic.

There are several ways to get to Todos Santos. Buses from Cabo leave for Todos Santos every hour from Aguila Bus Station in Cabo San Lucas.

However, taking a regular rental car to Todos Santos is also recommended, as there are many places to stop. If you decide to drive, you only drive north on Highway 19 until you reach Todos Santos.

If you don’t feel like planning and coordinating, consider a small group tour from Cabo to Todos Santos.

This full-day guided tour includes transportation to Todos Santos and back, entrance to Tierra Sagrada Ranch, and a Mexican buffet lunch. Check the latest rates and availability.

San Jose del Cabo Day Trip from Cabo

San Jose del Cabo is one of the best day trips from Cabo San Lucas because they are so close together and offer different experiences.

Cabo San Lucas tends to be more famous for spring breakers and those looking for lively nightlife and endless Cabo activities.

Front exterior of Mission San Jose del Cabo with colorful rosary hanging above entrance on clear sunny day
We love exploring San Jose del Cabo.

Conversely, San Jose del Cabo is more relaxed, peaceful, and laid-back. San Jose del Cabo is only about 30 minutes from Cabo San Lucas, so it’s easy to travel between the two.

Some of the best Cabo activities include strolling through the art galleries, shopping at the boutique stores that line the main street, and swimming at some popular nearby beaches.

How To Get From Cabo to San Jose del Cabo

Distance: 20 miles

San Jose del Cabo is only 20 miles, or 30 minutes by car from Cabo San Lucas. There are several different ways to travel between the two towns.

You can drive your car, take a city taxi, airport taxi, private shuttle, or even an Uber from Cabo to San Jose del Cabo. But, the public bus is the most accessible and affordable way to get to San Jose del Cabo.

The Ruta del Desierto runs from the hotel zone in Cabo San Lucas to San Jose del Cabo every 10 minutes or so.

Santiago Day Trip from Cabo

Many people visit Cabo San Lucas for the incredible beaches and lively atmosphere, but you must visit Santiago. This is undoubtedly one of the best Cabo day trips for hiking and astonishing nature experiences.

Santiago is just a small town, but outside the village of Santiago, you’ll find some of the best hiking and scenery in all of Los Cabos.

Santa Rita Hot Springs are hot springs surrounded by a beautiful canyon and lush forest. The springs are comfortable and relaxing, but if you get too hot, you can jump into the river right next to the hot springs. Or even hike up the river for a better view of the canyon.

There are many thermal springs around Santiago, including El Chorro Hot Springs.

You have Sol de Mayo Waterfall (Sierra Laguna Waterfall Hike) in Fox Canyon (Canon de la Zorra), near Santa Rita Hot Springs.

The hike to Sol de Mayo Waterfall only takes about 30 minutes and is relatively easy. Once there, you can take pictures of the stunning falls, swim in the waterfall, or hike the mountain trails.

Fox Canyon also has some other excellent hiking trails. You can easily spend a day hiking around Fox Canyon and this incredible area.

How To Get From Cabo to Santiago

Distance: 55 miles

The trip from Cabo San Lucas to Santiago should only take a little over an hour. While Santiago is definitely worth checking out because of its quintessential feel, exploring the surrounding area is essential.

Because you want a little freedom, it’s best to drive to Santiago in your car or to go on a guided tour. With your vehicle, you can plan the entire trip, choose the hiking trails most appealing, and move around on your schedule.

However, tour companies also plan everything for you, making the Cabo day trip to Santiago easy and carefree.

This is a full-day tour from Cabo San Lucas to Fox Canyon near Santiago. On this tour, you take several short hikes and visit the waterfalls. Lunch, roundtrip transportation, and a bilingual guide are included.

While this is an excellent tour for the family, it’s unsuitable for children under six. Check the latest rates and availability.

If you’re traveling with the family, a private tour of Fox Canyon and the hot springs is the way to go. This way, you can customize the trip and make sure you see what the family wants to see.

This is an excellent private tour of the hot springs and Fox Canyon from Cabo San Lucas.

Families looking for adventure and excitement for their journey to Fox Canyon can also consider a tour through the canyon.

This private tour to Fox Canyon from Cabo San Lucas includes a jeep rental. The tour company welcomes people of all ages but requires a valid driver’s license if you plan on driving. Check the latest rates and availability.

Cabo Pulmo National Park Day Trip from Cabo

There are many beaches with turquoise waters all around Los Cabos, but Cabo Pulmo is the spot for world-class snorkeling and scuba diving.

This is a must-do for the family if you’re looking for a good scuba dive or even the chance to snorkel with manta rays, sea turtles, and other tropical fish.

Image of groupers from Cabo Pulmo National Park in Mexico.
It’s easy to spot groupers in Cabo Pulmo.

The marine life around Cabo Pulmo is unmatched. There are so many opportunities to see so many different types of wildlife.

The town of Cabo Pulmo itself is pretty simple. The town has a few sandy streets, a handful of taco shops, and local restaurants.

While you should take time to explore if you can, the real gem here is the beaches and the possibility of a nice boat tour.

How To Get From Cabo to Cabo Pulmo National Park

Distance: 82 miles

Cabo Pulmo National Park is a marine reserve in the Sea of Cortez with unforgettable sea life. While it’s only about two hours from Cabo San Lucas, it’s a little more complicated to get to on your own.

If you’re traveling on a budget, you can take a local bus from Cabo San Lucas to either Santiago or San Jose del Cabo. From there, you can take a taxi to downtown Cabo Pulmo.

But if you’re traveling with the family and want the easiest route, you should consider going with a tour company to Cabo Pulmo.

This is one of the best tours from Cabo San Lucas to Cabo Pulmo. The tour includes roundtrip transportation, a marine guide, visiting two or three snorkeling locations, kayaking, and seeing the sea lions in Cabo Pulmo.

With all the exciting activities, the whole family is sure to love it. Check the latest rates and availability.

If you’re scuba certified and want to try scuba diving in Cabo Pulmo, check out this two-tank scuba dive of Cabo Pulmo.

Espiritu Santo Island Day Trip from Cabo

Espiritu Santo Island, or Isla Espiritu Santo, is another must-see for ocean lovers. Espiritu Santo Island is a small island near La Paz, north of Los Cabos.

Isla Espiritu Santo was added as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 and has since been voted to have some of the best beaches in the world.

Aerial image of Espiritu Santo Island in Baja California
Espiritu Santo Island in Baja California

The island has also earned the nickname the “Galapagos of the Sea of Cortez” because of the chance to snorkel and swim with sea lions.

A giant sea lion colony on Los Islotes, off the north top of Espiritu Santo Island. If you’re a fan of sea lions or just enjoy snorkeling, Espiritu Santo Island is the best day trip in Los Cabos.

How To Get From Cabo to Espiritu Santo Island

Distance: 113 miles

Isla Espiritu Santo is about a one-hour boat ride off the coast of La Paz, Mexico. To get there from Cabo San Lucas, you must take a bus, car, or taxi from Cabo to La Paz.

You’ll have to make the tourney to the island from La Paz with a guided tour. Most tours offer the complete experience, so you shouldn’t miss anything.

This is a highly-rated guided tour from Los Cabos to Espiritu Island off La Paz. The tour includes snorkeling with sea lions, lunch, and roundtrip transportation.

The tour does not allow children under eight years old to join. Also, the tour doesn’t include the small entrance fee for the island. Check the latest rates and availability.

Cabo Este (East Cape) Day Trip from Cabo

Cabo Este, or East Cape in English, is a portion of Los Cabos, just east of Cabo San Lucas. This is a more “off-the-beaten” path experience, as there is little activity and excitement in the East Cape.

But East Cape does have some incredible beaches, which are mostly protected by the cape, so you’ll notice much calmer waters.

You can hike and explore some trails along the coast, visit some of the few restaurants in the area, or spend the day relaxing on an empty beach.

No matter what you decide, your family will likely be impressed by the stunning scenery of Baja California Sur on this side of Los Cabos.

How To Get From Cabo to East Cape

Distance: 38 miles

The East Cape is an entire section of Baja California Sur, so the distance will change depending on where you’re going.

However, La Fortuna is popular, with a few restaurants, bars, and a central beach. La Fortuna is about 38 miles from Cabo San Lucas.

Because nothing is built up in East Cape, there aren’t many transportation options. You’ll either have to drive alone or go with a private tour company.

Los Barriles Day Trip from Cabo

Los Barriles in Baja California Sur is a small town on the East Cape. Even if you spend a whole day exploring the East Cape, you should dedicate another day to Los Barriles, especially if you’re into windsurfing or kite surfing.

Between December and March, the winds push onto the land of Baja California Sur and create perfect conditions for windsurfers and kitesurfers. During these months, this tiny town in Los Cabos gets overrun by water sports enthusiasts.

But if you’re not into surfing, don’t worry. This is also excellent for fly fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling. There’s certainly something for the whole family.

How To Get From Cabo to Los Barriles

Distance: 70 miles

Los Barriles is one of the best Cabo day trips because it’s not too far and so fun in this small town.

There are several public buses, shuttles, and many taxis making the trip from Cabo San Lucas to Los Barriles daily. There’s even a direct shuttle from Los Cabos International Airport (SJD) to Los Barriles.

Another option is a quick day trip with one of the well-known tour companies. This full-day sightseeing tour stops in several places around Baja California Sur, including Los Barriles, Santiago, and Miraflores.

El Arco Day Trip From Cabo

El Arco (or the Arche) is arguably the most distinct feature of Los Cabos. If you’ve ever seen photos of Cabo San Lucas, you’ve seen photos of El Arco.

Arch-of-Cabo-San-Lucas.jpg
This is El Arco.

For this reason, it’s essential to add El Arco to your list of day trips from Cabo San Lucas.

El Arco is situated on the southern tip of Baja California Sur, marking the dramatic collision of the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean.

How To Get from Cabo to El Arco

Distance: 20 minutes by boat

The only way to get up close and personal with El Arco is with a boat tour or water taxi. While you can always see the Arche from Cabo San Lucas, swimming and exploring nearby waters is much more fun.

Almost any boat tour from Cabo San Lucas will visit El Arco. This is a quick 45-minute boat tour to El Archo.

While it’s a simple tour, it’s highly rated and one of the best ways to see El Arco with the whole family. Check the latest rates and availability.

Beaches Day Trip from Cabo

Your Cabo day trips won’t be complete without a visit to some of the best beaches in Baja California Sur. After all, one of the main reasons people come to this part of Mexico is specifically for the beaches.

Here are some of the best beaches in Los Cabos include:

  • Los Cerritos Beach: Located off the highway from Cabo San Lucas to Todos Santos. Los Cerritos Beach is well-known for its world-class surfing.
  • Balandra Beach: Located about 30 minutes north of La Paz. Balandra Beach is a beautiful area, with several beaches in a cove with calm and warm waters.
  • Playa del Amor: Located right off Cabo San Lucas. This is sometimes called a hidden beach. You can only get to this stunning beach by water taxi or with a tour.
  • Playa el Medano: Located right in Cabo San Lucas. This is one of the most accessible beaches to get to.
  • Santa Maria: Located about 8 miles east of Cabo San Lucas. This beach is less crowded and has beautiful turquoise waters.

There are many more beaches. If you’re a big beach-lover, you should definitely fit at least a few of these into your trip.

The Best Way to Visit the Beaches in Los Cabos

If you have your own car or driver in Cabo San Lucas, you can get around to the beaches quickly.

If you don’t have transportation, you’ll have to take advantage of some easier-to-access beaches near Cabo San Lucas, like Santa Maria and Playa el Medano.

Some of them, like Playa del Amor, can only be accessed by water taxi or boat. So, you’ll definitely consider a tour of these hard-to-reach spots.

Check out this fun, family-friendly tour from Los Cabos to Playa del Amor via a glass-bottom kayak. This is one of the best ways to visit the hidden beach. Check the latest rates and availability.

If you want to admire the beaches from out in the ocean, there are also plenty of fun snorkeling tours to choose from. This snorkel tour from Cabo San Lucas passes by Playa el Medano and Playa del Amor.

It then stops in some of the best snorkeling spots, including one in Santa Maria Bay. The tour includes snacks, drinks, equipment, and transportation. Check the latest rates and availability.

Sunset Cruise Trip From Cabo

If you aren’t planning a cruise to El Arco or one of the other beaches near Cabo San Lucas, you must have a sunset cruise.

There are what sds of sunset cruises from Cabo San Lucas, and you can’t go wrong with them. The sunset views from the water are incredible, and it’s one of the best ways to wind down in Mexico.

This isn’t as complete as the other day trips from Cabo San Lucas, but it’s worth setting aside a few hours for sunset here. And maybe you can follow this cruise with a fun tequila tasting at one of the bars near the marina.

If you’re thinking of a sunset cruise for the family, you should look into this Sunset Pirate Ship Cruise. This experience is for everyone and includes live pirate entertainment, dinner, and drinks.

The cruise ship also goes by Los Arcos, Lover’s Beach (Playa del Amor), and Pelican Rock. So it’s a great way to see some of the best sights on the Sea of Cortez, and it’s a big hit with the kids.

How To Do a Sunset Cruise Day Trip from Cabo

Distance: ~3 miles

All sunset cruises leave from the maCabo San Lucas’s main marina, and some offer transportation from your hotel. Hotels and hostels are usually not far from the marina, so getting there is straightforward.

Trips from Los Cabos FAQs

How far are popular tourist sites from Los Cabos for a day trip?

Todos Santos, La Paz, and San Jose del Cabo are the most popular Cabo day trips. However, there are many other fun activities and day trips to consider.

What transportation options are available for day trips from Los Cabos?

You can rent a car, hire a driver or a private shuttle, or book a tour for your Los Cabos day trips. Some areas you can travel to by bus, but it’s more complicated, especially with the whole family.

What are some family-friendly day trips from Los Cabos?

A day trip from Cabo to Todos Santos and a La Paz day trip from Cabo are two of the best family-friendly options. These two colonial towns are enjoyable to explore, and you can do many fun activities from them. This is a great starting spot for everyone.

What should I pack for a day trip from Los Cabos?

You should pack all the essentials for a day trip from Los Cabos. However, here are a few other recommendations you might not consider now.

Reef-safe sunscreen, water bottle, quick dry towel, snacks, bathing suit, offline Google Maps on your phone, and cash to tip or make small purchases.

And anything else you can think of. If you’re packing for the whole family, make sure you have a good backpack to keep everything in.

Are there any unique or off-the-beaten-path day trips from Los Cabos?

Yes, there are a few unique and off-the-beaten-path trips from Los Cabos. The East Cape is an enjoyable adventure for the whole family. It’s even more exciting to rent or hire transportation to explore the entire cape (rather than sticking to the most popular spots).

Cabo Pulmo National Park is another destination with many fun hiking and nature-loving activities. You won’t see as many tourists and such hiking around these areas. So, this is another excellent spot to explore.

Are there any safety concerns on day trips from Los Cabos?

Generally, Los Cabos and Cabo San Lucas day trips are very safe. However, taking some usual precautions while traveling in any foreign country would be best.

The most important thing is to stay aware of your surroundings and follow your instincts. If something feels off to you, try to exit the situation.

Also, if you’re leaving Cabo San Lucas and plan on exploring a lot, make sure you have Google Maps region downloaded so you can keep an eye on your location no matter what.

Cabo San Lucas Day Tours Wrap-Up

There are so many activities in Cabo San Lucas for the whole family you likely won’t get bored. However, if you’re worried about this, you can quickly fill your schedule with some fun Cabo San Lucas day trips.

Todos Santos, La Paz, and San Jose del Cabo are three towns near Cabo San Lucas that are fun and perfect for a quick escape.

And Cabo Pulmo National Park and Spirit Santo Island are other places to visit near Cabo San Lucas. These are the spots to go for scenic adventures and fresh air.

No matter what you do, you and the family will have a great time. You can’t go wrong with these day trips from Cabo San Lucas.

Looking for more Cabo San Lucas travel resources? Check out my top Cabo San Lucas travel tips, the best all-inclusive Cabo family resorts, my Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos review, how to book a photographer in Cabo, Cabo vs Cancun, San Jose del Cabo vs Cabo San Lucas, top Mexico all-inclusive resorts for families, and cool things to do in Cabo with kids!

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